Call a nasal or mewing "cheerrr
" or "meeah
" like Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; typical drumming pattern is a burst of several rapid thumps followed by several slow, rhythmic thumps (Peterson 1990, Howell and Webb 1995). Like other sapsuckers, leaves distinctive sign in horizontal rows of small, squarish sap wells around tree trunks, especially in broad-leaved trees. See Devillers (1970) and Dunn (1978) for detailed information on identification. Small to medium woodpecker; length 19 to 21 cm; mass 32 to 66 g. Black bib on upper breast, prominent red forehead with black band at rear, nape red, black stripe along side of head bordered by 2 white stripes, crown and nape black, large white wing-patch, back blackish, rump white, and underparts buffy or yellow-tinged. Male: throat red. FeMale: chin and upper throat white, lower throat red (Walters et al. 2002).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
In Bozeman area, normal migration periods are May 8 to 20 and September 5 to 20, with no peak dates (Skaar 1969).
Birds have a strong preference for nesting in broken-top larch; optimum habitat is old-growth larch, particularly near wet areas. Excavates a new cavity each spring. Breeds in deciduous and mixed woodlands including aspen groves in open ponderosa pine forests, aspen-fir parklands, logged forests where deciduous groves remain, aspen groves in open rangeland, birch groves, montane coniferous forests and occasionally subalpine forest edges (Walters et al. 2002).
Creates sap wells in the bark of woody plants and feed on sap that appears there. When Red-naped Sapsuckers first arrive at their breeding areas, they often drill sap wells in the xylem of conifers and aspens. Once the temperatures increase and sap begins to flow, theses birds switch to phloem wellls in aspen or willow, if available. Insects, also bast (inner bark), fruit, and seeds (Walters et al. 2002).
Nest cavities made in dead trees or dead portions of live trees. Pure white, moderately glossy eggs are ovate to elliptical-ovate or rounded-ovate. Clutch size ranges 4 to 7 eggs (Walters et al. 2002). Near Fortine, egg dates are May 26 to June 3; young in nest from June 18 to July 11. Statewide, nests in June and early July (Davis 1961).